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PeteB
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Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Taken from TT news:

Sad news in the Enthusiast Community today coming from Season Pass Podcast as John Wardley the Veteran Ride designer behind such attractions as Nemesis, Bubbleworks and most recently The Smiler, has confirmed his retirement;

Wardley previously took the role of Ride Consultant but continued to work on Track Layout and various levels of theming elements, He’s often noted for his quiet nature and peaceful attitude towards Theme Parks.

John has appeared on various children’s television programs such as Blue Peter as well as documentaries on theme parks commenting on his brilliant creations, most notable of these is The Creation of Nemesis, a fascinating story of his own love for thrill rides and his personal opinion on what is arguably one the best thrill rides in the world, he is quoted as saying

    “I was the first person round Nemesis. It was pretty scary, but it’s a privilege to know that, since its opening in 1994, 50 million people have ridden it”.

Wardley began his career as a stage manager at Windsor's Theatre Royal designing props and special effects for James Bond movies, though he soon started his work on thrill rides when he was hired by Tussauds Entertainment to  “sort out the funfair and circus” at Chessington, he told them that Chessingtons future relied on a far more radical approach, and so due to John Wardley, we have the World of Adventures that exists now. Recently Wardley has been a consultant and designer on Alton Towers new ride The Smiler

As well as theme parks, John Wardley has been a consultant on the hit Video Game Roller Coaster Tycoon and its sequels, He himself has noted saying

    “When this software is run on commercial computers, boy, is it amazing! Combine this with ride technology as used in Universal’s Spiderman ride, and the result is an interactive dark ride the like of which has never been seen before.  And that is what I’m working on now, not for any particular park operator, just Frontier and myself experimenting with ideas and playing around.”

So, John wardley will never really retire, Because as he says, “When you’re a Coaster Enthusiast, You’re always a Coaster Enthusiast, and there’s no retiring from that”

John will also be appearing on the Season Pass Podcast later this year to talk about his past, present and future.

So good luck to you John, We wish you all the best.


You can discuss this story with fellow enthusiasts in our forums

Credit goes to Season Pass Podcast for sourcing the original news



Sad times....  :cry:
 
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sw7nutter
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:13 pm

What will the world do with out him. Quick convince him so he does not retire. 
He gave us all the best rides.  :cry:
Last edited by sw7nutter on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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X
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:16 pm

Such a shame. It's the end of an era. Can't wait to see The Smiler, i'm sure it will be a really special ride.

Enjoy your retirement John, you have made some fantastic and very unique rides and theming concepts over the years which will be enjoyed for many more years to come!  :D
Last edited by X on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
MC4
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:32 pm

Am i right in thinking he designed all the Secret Weapons? :) if so who will design the rest? :O i hope he has a great retirement as he has done a great job over the past years at Alton Towers :D
 
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Th13TEENGUY
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:33 pm

:( enjoy your retirment jon thanks for everything  :(  :sadblink:
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Tom
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:47 pm

Hope he has a long and enjoyable retirement, what a contribution he has made to the industry. His legacy will live on.
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PeteB
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:49 pm

MC4 wrote:
Am i right in thinking he designed all the Secret Weapons? :) if so who will design the rest? :O i hope he has a great retirement as he has done a great job over the past years at Alton Towers :D


Yep he designed all of the Secret Weapons, and also things like Katanga Canyon, the refurb of the Rapids, Runaway Mine Train, The Haunted House, Hex and more.  And those are just the ones at Alton Towers. He's designed rides for the other Merlin theme parks and other parks all over the world.

I knew this was coming, but I really was hoping he would stay on until SW8 as he's only 62. Nevertheless I'm grateful for everything he's given the UK theme park industry and wish him well. Enjoy your retirement John, it's certainly well earned!
 
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Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:56 pm

There goes the chance of an Alton Woodie :(

I thought he was semi-retired anyway and worked as a consultant more than anything? Now he won't be consulting anymore I guess..
 
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:37 pm

I'm sure I echo many a member's feelings on this, and other sites, to say a huge thank you to JW. Without him we wouldn't have some of the world class rides that we are lucky enough to expirence. I cannot under estimate the enormous impact he has had on the UK theme park industry, who else would have so many world first's to their name?

Once again, thank you JW for bringing so much to so many people, we're all going to miss your input!!
 
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:23 am

I wonder how long it will be before there is a documentary about his work in the Theme Park industry capturing everything he has done for us. I know there are old ones, but a complete one now which finishes with The Smiler opening.
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PeteB
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:38 am

I'm hoping for a documentary of some kind filmed during the design/build of The Smiler.

I also hope that when John does retire, he writes a book about theme parks. I would definitely buy it.
 
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DavidRock
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:17 am

I remember when John was on site for the opening of Air in 2002. Was funny seeing all the people running to the queue and I spot John and then go over to him. Very nice person had a great conversation with him. Even seen the old videos on Youtube when he talks about the building of the mine train.

I'm pretty sure he may be spotted on park on the opening day of Smiler. If so I'd like to wish him all the best in person.

I know many have said it but all the best John Wardley, we all know once you've got the coaster bug it will never leave you  :D
 
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Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:53 am

Met him at Nemesis Inferno preview event, Th13teen opening day and later that night at ATH.

In all occasions he took time out to have a chat, ask about myself and generally give me his time. A lovely guy.

I don't think he'll ever let go of the coasters, it's always in his blood.
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:27 am

I had heard rumours of JW’s retirement about April/May last year whilst working at Towers. From that moment onwards, I knew that SW7/Smiler would be his swansong. This is a sad day and it will be a sadder day when Smiler opens and JW turns up for his final creations opening day.  I am sure that all coaster fans who know his work will remember with fondness and excitement his work and unfortunately with sadness his retirement officially.

His SW’s which he designed, from the plans of SW1 and SW2 which were not constructed to the ones that were constructed (SW3 – Nemesis, SW4 – Oblivion, SW5 – Air, SW6 – Th13teen and SW7 –The Smiler). SW4 – SW6/SW7 have all contained a World’s First element. World’s First Aerial Inverted Rollercoaster, Worlds First Vertical drop coaster, World’s First Freefall Drop coaster and with Smiler; who knows what the great mind has thought up for this World’s first! He will be remembered for his various involvements with other ride and attractions within Alton Towers but with his involvement with his other projects UK and worldwide.

From his beginnings with props from the James Bond films to being one of the most prolific rollercoaster designers of this generation, his eye for detail, thrills and most importantly, theming has been such a gift for Alton Towers that without his great creations, would Alton Towers be as popular as it is now?

When coaster enthusiasts have met JW, there is only praise for his company and friendliness to the target audience that have followed his work and enjoyed all of his work within the coaster community. From being on park on just visits, to the openings of his creations to special events with community schools in his “design a rollercoaster” events at the start of the Alton Towers season to the Nemesis 10 event his dedication is second to none. I have not met anyone like JW before. He is very approachable and always willing to have a chat if he is not busy; he has the time to converse.

When I asked him in March 2006 if he likes the attention for him and his creations, he looked at me and blushed. He is a very genuine person who can’t see why people like him so much, this was his passion as well as his job and therefore he is quite shy when it comes to compliments.

I am sure that we can all raise a glass of thanks to someone who has created some of the worlds most iconic rides. Here’s to you The Great God, Sir John Of Wardley! Why have you not been knighted or had an accolade from the British Government and the Queen for your services to Tourism and Leisure is beyond me!
Last edited by LPAJ13 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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lozzyhickers
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:41 am

Lead Piping wrote:
I had heard rumours of JW’s retirement about April/May last year whilst working at Towers. From that moment onwards, I knew that SW7/Smiler would be his swansong. This is a sad day and it will be a sadder day when Smiler opens and JW turns up for his final creations opening day.  I am sure that all coaster fans who know his work will remember with fondness and excitement his work and unfortunately with sadness his retirement officially.

His SW’s which he designed, from the plans of SW1 and SW2 which were not constructed to the ones that were constructed (SW3 – Nemesis, SW4 – Oblivion, SW5 – Air, SW6 – Th13teen and SW7 –The Smiler). SW4 – SW6/SW7 have all contained a World’s First element. World’s First Aerial Inverted Rollercoaster, Worlds First Vertical drop coaster, World’s First Freefall Drop coaster and with Smiler; who knows what the great mind has thought up for this World’s first! He will be remembered for his various involvements with other ride and attractions within Alton Towers but with his involvement with his other projects UK and worldwide.

From his beginnings with props from the James Bond films to being one of the most prolific rollercoaster designers of this generation, his eye for detail, thrills and most importantly, theming has been such a gift for Alton Towers that without his great creations, would Alton Towers be as popular as it is now?

When coaster enthusiasts have met JW, there is only praise for his company and friendliness to the target audience that have followed his work and enjoyed all of his work within the coaster community. From being on park on just visits, to the openings of his creations to special events with community schools in his “design a rollercoaster” events at the start of the Alton Towers season to the Nemesis 10 event his dedication is second to none. I have not met anyone like JW before. He is very approachable and always willing to have a chat if he is not busy; he has the time to converse.

When I asked him in March 2006 if he likes the attention for him and his creations, he looked at me and blushed. He is a very genuine person who can’t see why people like him so much, this was his passion as well as his job and therefore he is quite shy when it comes to compliments.

I am sure that we can all raise a glass of thanks to someone who has created some of the worlds most iconic rides. Here’s to you The Great God, Sir John Of Wardley! Why have you not been knighted or had an accolade from the British Government and the Queen for your services to Tourism and Leisure is beyond me!


You took the words fom my mouth. All the best John. If I see you this season, I will try to pluck up the courage to go and talk to you.
 
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:44 am

Any one know if they would consider building the attractions he designed that were never built? like sw 1 & 2?
would be a great way to thank him for his work!
 
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lozzyhickers
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:29 pm

Trisnie wrote:
Any one know if they would consider building the attractions he designed that were never built? like sw 1 & 2?
would be a great way to thank him for his work!


I'm sure it wouldn't be considered. I can't remember if it was SW1/2 but the manufacturer has been bankrupt for years now, and John rode a prototype and didn't like it, hence why it was scrapped.
 
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ThrillJunkie
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:43 pm

Will he actually retire though? Remember what he said in an interview a few years back?

I’ll never fully retire.  And of course, when you are a coaster
enthusiast, you’re always a coaster enthusiast.  You never retire from that!


I personally don't think we've seen the last of him just yet.
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:47 pm

Trisnie wrote:
Any one know if they would consider building the attractions he designed that were never built? like sw 1 & 2?
would be a great way to thank him for his work!


If they had any chance of doing that whatsoever, they'd have to remove Nemesis, and I don't think he'd be too pleased having his greatest piece of work knocked down for two projects he didn't like overall.
 
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Re: Ride designer John Wardley to retire

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:18 pm

I am sorry to hear that Mr Wardley is retiring. He has given us all so many wonderful experiences. I am excited to see what new things will follow in the UK when a new a fresh mind steps in to take his place but the overiding feeling is anxiety that they will not live up to the precedent he has set for world class attractions which is testament to the great work he has delivered to the industry over the past few decades.
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